Tidsskriftet Cephalalgia har akkurat publisert resultatet av et svært forsøk med akupunktur mot hodesmerter:

We aimed to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture in addition to routine care in patients with primary headache (> 12 months, two or more headaches/month) compared with treatment with routine care alone and whether the effects of acupuncture differ in randomized and non-randomized patients. In a randomized controlled trial plus non-randomized cohort, patients with headache were allocated to receive up to 15 acupuncture sessions over 3 months or to a control group receiving no acupuncture during the first 3 months. Patients who did not consent to randomization received acupuncture treatment immediately. All subjects were allowed usual medical care in addition to study treatment. Number of days with headache, intensity of pain and health-related quality of life (SF-36) were assessed at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months using standardized questionnaires. Of 15 056 headache patients (mean age 44.1 ± 12.8 years, 77% female), 1613 were randomized to acupuncture and 1569 to control, and 11 874 included in the non-randomized acupuncture group. At 3 months, the number of days with headache decreased from 8.4 ± 7.2 (estimated mean ±s.e.) to 4.7 ± 5.6 in the acupuncture group and from 8.1 ± 6.8 to 7.5 ± 6.3 in the control group (P < 0.001). Similarly, intensity of pain and quality of life improvements were more pronounced in the acupuncture vs. control group (P < 0.001). Treatment success was maintained through 6 months. The outcome changes in non-randomized patients were similar to those in randomized patients. Acupuncture plus routine care in patients with headache was associated with marked clinical improvements compared with routine care alone.

For dem som ikke plukker opp problemene med måten forsøket var lagt opp på umiddelbart, så har Orac noen betraktninger.

Alle som har sett forsøket her vet hvor store problemene blir med slike feil.

Så det var en del kroner ut av vinduet og noen minus i margen for alle involverte.

Oppdatering

Kynismen min var feilparkert og tauet bort: Det var penger ut av vinduet hvis studiet skulle finne ut om akupunktur virker.

Men hvis det var ment som propaganda er saken en annen. Det er ett av Steven Novellas poeng når han kommenterer «den typen studier»:

Of course, any peer-reviewed published study serves an academic purpose for those who publish it – it helps their career (the old saying of publish or perish still holds). Poor studies that are virtually guaranteed to generate a positive result (like this one) are also useful for marketing propaganda. They create great headlines – and most of the public are not going to read much beyond the headlines and so will be left with the sense that there is more and building evidence that acupuncture works. As propaganda this study is very effective.

As science – it is worthless.

Godt poeng. Og hvis det i tillegg til å være funksjonen også var intensjonen sier det noe om hvor korrupte eller inkompetente de som har finansiert og godkjent undersøkelsen kan være.